Five ways to cope with self-isolation during Covid-19

Already struggling with cabin fever in the Coronavirus lockdown? Samantha Downes from The Bad Mum shares Five ways to cope with self-isolation.

Yesterday my main client told its entire workforce to work from home. Following not only the UK government’s advice but because it feels it’s in the best interests of all its employees’ health and well being. Not to mention nearly all of us have to travel by train and tube into central London – which is the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak.

I’m not daunted by working from home as I’ve worked from home since 2005 – so 15 years, not including the odd patches of freelancing between editing jobs in the late 1990s.

1) Have a routine

Get up at the same time you normally would. Our body clocks are remarkably good at keeping us sane and healthy when we treat them properly. Our bodies love routine and it’s a leveller in times of stress and anxiety.

If you do one thing (well two actually) it should be to get up and go to bed at your usual time.  If you find it hard to get up motivate yourself with the promise of a nice breakfast then stockpile-friendly dishes such as overnight oats (using fruit if available)

Good sleep hygiene such as turning off phones etc and giving yourself a one-hour screen free window before pulling the covers up will also help. Reading news stories is not recommended just before bed.

I’ve been listening to the Calm app and also Bill Bryson’s latest book (via Audible) The Body – A Guide for Occupants, it’s bizarrely soothing and informative.

2) Keep active

Start the day off with some stretches and breathing. If you are working go out for a walk or run at lunchtime. The Guardian have listed the 10 best online home workouts – I’ve also blogged about exercising from home and injury.

3) Do something you’ve always wanted to do

When I go through quiet patches – where I’ve not got any urgent deadlines (not often but it does happen) I’ve used the time to brush up my French, using the Audible app. As the weather is getting warmer I’ve also started planning our garden, which is great because it involves fresh air.

Journalist Joan Bakewell who is having to self isolated says she is using her time to bake more and finding it great to be able to use her time to cook good food. The Guardian has a great article on stockpile-free lockdown cupboard essentials Of course finding food in the first place may be an issue, which takes us to:

4) Don’t be a stranger

If you are working from home you will be speaking and emailing/WhatsApping colleagues. I work in a large team and we have to communicate with each other all day long.

If you don’t have any symptoms of the virus – why not offer to volunteer to help others in your community? I’ve joined my local Covid-19 Mutual Aid group via Facebook and people are already helping those in need who may not be able to shop.

Using your time to help others is one of the best uses of time ever!

5) Stay positive

This may mean limiting the time you spend watching the news. Going for a walk, shouting crying and letting it out. It may mean eating loads of chocolate (they may have run out of eggs in the supermarkets but the cocoa kind appears to be well-stocked by supermarkets). Chocolate (like exercise) solve everything…

Read more from Samantha Downes on The Bad Mum.

Photo by alex bracken